Title & Author: Star Nomad: Fallen Empire Book One, Lindsay Buroker
Genre & Publication Date: Science-Fiction, May 26, 2016
Book Description: “The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she’s stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold.
But she has a plan.
Steal a dilapidated and malfunctioning freighter from a junkyard full of lawless savages. Slightly suicidal, but she believes she can do it. Her plan, however, does not account for the elite cyborg soldier squatting in the freighter, intending to use it for his own purposes. As an imperial soldier, he has no love for Alliance pilots. In fact, he’s quite fond of killing them.
Alisa has more problems than she can count, but she can’t let cyborgs, savages, or ancient malfunctioning ships stand in her way. If she does, she’ll never see her daughter again.
Fans of Firefly and Star Wars should enjoy this fun, fast-paced new series from USA Today best-selling author, Lindsay Buroker.”
First Line: A dark shape scurried through the shdaows ahead, disappearing under the belly of a rusted spaceship.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
This talented author usually writes Steam Punk and Fantasy fiction, so I was quite curious to see what she did with a Sci-Fi series. On the whole I liked it, but it has a few problems in my opinion.
The heorine is likable, there’s witty dialogue, and her mission to get her daughter back is a compelling one, but the relationship between her and the oddball crew she puts together never feels grounded. The author has them rolling from one dire situation to another in such a non-stop sucessive fashion that there isn’t time to grow the connections or backstory of the other characters. That leaves me with the why-should-I-care feeling. Now, I love action in books. Keep things moving and hold that tension high, is what I say. So you can imagine my surprise when as I read this one I found myself thinking, “Sheesh, slow things down a sec.” With life threatening danger constantly happening (and I mean constantly) I couldn’t get worked up about how they’d get out of it. I assumed they would because, well, they just did the last three times.
Still, I did want to find out how things would work out. There’s great potential in this story line but the story itself was set aside in favor of thrills. Normally that would be fine if it’s balanced with character development. That component felt largely ignored.
The Magical: The cyborg, a former imperial super soldier, is obviously very cool. Since Alisa was part of the Alliance it’s a set up for good conflict there. The author is great at juxtoposing her heroine with a slightly dangerous but utterly interesting secondary character.
The Mundane: The description states that this is one that Firefly fans would like. The author herself says that it’s like her series “The Emperor’s Edge” but set in space. The trouble I had is that she tried to recreate them too closely here. At times it felt like a story she was modelling after Firefly and Emperor’s Edge, rather than creating something completely new with a similar vibe. There’s even a mysterious monk who comes on board as a passenger but seems to be much more than just a holyman (Shepherd Book anyone?). This kinda annoyed me.
Summary of Thoughts: Currently this book is $0.99 on the Kindle. It’s not bad but it’s not great, and it emmulates things I’ve seen before in a too obvious way. As I said, I still wanted to find out what would happen (this author’s writing always does that to me) but I felt it missed the mark somewhat. I’ll give the next book a try with hopes that she’ll slow things down, put some attention on the interpersonal so I feel more attached to the other characters around Alisa, and most importantly, make this series veer away from the similarities of other story lines.
Many thanks to author Lindsay Buroker for providing a copy of the book to review!
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Note: You may see Lindsay Buroker’s work come up here on a semi-regular basis as I’m on her team of early reviewers. Reviews will usually post around release time for her new books, so if you love her stuff keep an eye on the “Next Up” image on the right-hand side of the blog page:)